Thursday, May 8, 2008

Selangor state government wants more humane treatment of animals - The Star

May 8, 2008 By WANI MUTHIAH (

THE Selangor state government is reviewing the methods used by the district and municipal councils in catching stray dogs.

According to state local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu, the state government wants to ensure that only ethical and humane methods would be employed in the treatment of the dogs.

Liu said that measures would also be taken to prevent the number of strays from increasing.

“We will set up a committee comprising animal rescuers and dog lovers to tell us how we can do this without subjecting the dogs to inhumane treatment,’’ he said.

The municipal councils in the state are known to have embarked on methods deemed cruel by animal lovers.

Last year, the Selayang Municipal Council organised a dog-catching competition which caused an uproar among the public.

The grisly competition was scrapped after dog lovers and animal activists cried foul and protested vehemently against it.

In Klang, stray dogs that were caught are usually left without food and water in the dog-catchers’ lorries for days before being put to sleep.

Dog-catchers are also not properly trained and still use the outdated wire loops, which causes injuries to the animals.

Some local councils have also hired canine bounty hunters to capture stray dogs and paid them according to the number of dogs caught, giving rise to the cruel hauling in of stray dogs.

Liu said he would also look into the setting-up of a centre for animal owners and rescuers to take dogs and cats to for treatment.

He would also be looking into the possibility of setting up a shelter for dogs brought in by district and municipal dog catching teams.

Liu acknowledged that catching stray dogs and destroying them was not the answer to curb the stray dog problem.

“The right way would be for dog owners to ensure that their dogs do not reproduce,’’ he said.

He said the onus was on owners to restrict their dogs from straying as well as not abandoning their pets according to their whims and fancies.

Liu said dogs were in a precarious situation because they were misunderstood by certain quarters.

He said there was a need to create a platform for dog lovers as well as those who do not like dogs to understand each other.

“Those who do not like dogs must learn why some people are diehard dog lovers. Staunch dog lovers, on the other hand, must know why some people don’t like dogs,’’ Liu said.

He said that he would also look into some local council by-laws requiring potential dog owners to seek permission from their neighbours before acquiring canines.

Meanwhile, Sabrina Yeap, the founder of the Furry Friends Farm, a sanctuary for stray dogs, welcomed Liu’s statement and said it was timely.

“It would be great if there is a state-owned and operated shelter and spaying centre in Selangor,’’ Yeap said.

She said a shelter was necessary for stray dogs, which had been nurtured and spayed while awaiting adoption or transfer to other shelters.

She said Liu could work together with existing private shelters as well as animal rescue groups to train those manning the spaying centre and shelter.

“Organisations such as the Furry Friends Farm can help the councils conduct such courses for their workers,’’ Yeap said.

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